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Artikal Sound System urge judge to deny Dua Lipa’s motion for dismissal in song-theft case

By | Published on Monday 23 January 2023

Dua Lipa

Florida-based band Artikal Sound System have hit back at efforts by Dua Lipa to get a song-theft lawsuit in relation to her 2020 hit ‘Levitating’ dismissed. They say claims by Lipa’s team that their song-theft legal claim is “speculative”, “vague” and “devoid of a shred of factual detail” are unfair and untrue.

There are actually two lawsuits going through the motions that both accuse Lipa and her collaborators of ripping off earlier songs when writing ‘Levitating’. The other one has been filed by songwriters L Russell Brown and Sandy Linze who reckon Lipa actually ripped off two songs they wrote back in 1979 and 1980.

In this case, Artikal Sound System claim that ‘Levitating’ borrowed elements from their 2017 track ‘Live Your Life’. The band’s initial lawsuit was light on detail regarding the song-theft claim, especially in relation to the similarities between the two songs that Artikal Sound System reckon constitute copyright infringement.

So much so, in their motion to have the lawsuit dismissed, Lipa’ lawyers argued that “plaintiffs fail to allege a single fact that identifies what material from ‘Live Your Life’ is copied in ‘Levitating’”.

However, in their formal legal response last week, Artikal Sound System deny those claims, insisting that they provided a lawyer previously working on the case for Lipa with a twelve page report written by one of those musicologists setting out all the similarities.

“Defendants have failed to inform the court that on three occasions plaintiffs’ counsel submitted to defendants’ prior attorneys a twelve page report prepared by a respected musicologist setting forth in detail the substantial similarities between the two songs”, the new legal filing states.

“The existence of this musicologist’s report and its submission to prior counsel for defendants makes, at best, disingenuous any argument that substantial similarity has not been sufficiently alleged at this stage of the litigation”.

The new legal filing also summarises Artikal Sound System’s theory for how Team Lipa had access to ‘Live Your Life’ when writing ‘Levitating’, the alleged connection being a writer linked to the Lipa team who – like the band – comes from the Florida city of Delray Beach.

“A writer who collaborates in writing songs with at least one of the defendants, and who admittedly worked on a song on the album on which Dua Lipa’s infringing song ‘Levitating’ appears, not only grew up in Delray Beach, but was mentored as a musician and writer by the brother-in-law of plaintiff Chris Cope”.

With all that in mind, last week’s legal filing concludes, “plaintiffs have established sufficient allegations of access and substantial similarity to defeat a motion to dismiss their infringement claim”. We wait to see if the judge agrees.